On June 17, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested Shiv Sena leader and former encounter specialist Pradeep Sharma in the Antilia bomb scare case and Mansukh Hiran murder case. As per reports, NIA had conducted a raid at Sharma’s JB Nagar residence in Andheri (suburb) on Thursday morning. Pradeep Sharma Foundation, an NGO run by Sharma, was also raided by the investigation agency. The raid was conducted along with armed CRPF personnel at around 6 AM.
Reports suggest that he is being questioned by NIA in connection to the cases. His name came up during the investigation when another accused mentioned him. India Today reported that evidence in form of technical data also highlighted his possible role in the bomb scare and murder case. The security forces blocked the roads that led to his residence, and the public movement in the area was restricted. After learning about the raid, Mumbai police personnel were also deployed at the spot. Notably, Sharma was questioned for two days at his office in South Mumbai as well.
Mumbai | Shiv Sena leader and former ‘encounter specialist’ of Mumbai Police, Pradeep Sharma and two others produced before the Special NIA court— ANI (@ANI) June 17, 2021
So far, the central investigation agency has arrested former police officers Sachin Waze, Riyazuddin Kazi, Sunil Mane, former police constable Vinayak Shinde, cricket bookie Naresh Gour, Santosh Shelar and Anand Jadhav for their alleged involvement in the cases. According to NIA, Shelar and Jadhav were involved in planning the SUV with explosives near Mukesh Ambani’s residence.
Sharma has been sent to police custody till June 28.
Antilia bomb scare and Mansukh Hiran’s murder case
On February 25, an SUV laden with explosives was found parked outside the Mumbai residence of Reliance Industries owner Mukesh Ambani. Vaze, who had taken the onus to investigate the case, was the first to reach the spot. He reported discovering gelatine sticks in the parked car with a threatening letter from a terrorist organization. Later, the letter turned out to be fake.
The SUV was traced back to Thane-based businessman Mansukh Hiran who was found dead under mysterious circumstances a few days later. Soon, Maharashtra ATS took over the case after links between Vaze and Hiran emerged. Notably, Vaze was suddenly reinstated to the Mumbai Police Crime Branch after facing a suspension that lasted more than 15 years as he was facing a custodial death case.
The case was later handed over to NIA. The agency arrested Vaze’s former colleague at CIU, assistant police inspector Riyazuddin Kazi, former policeman Vinayak Shinde and cricket bookie Naresh Ramniklal Gor. During the investigation, Vaze accused the former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh of demanding Rs 2 crore to retain him in the police force. On April 24, CBI filed a case against Deshmukh for corruption and misuse of power. ED also filed a case against him under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).